Are you a Candidate for a Coronary Calcium Scan?

Published: Monday, February 15, 2021

by: Tracy Greer, CT Technologist

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans? In fact, approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur each year.  

Northeast Georgia Health System is passionate about reducing the occurrence of heart disease deaths in our community and is proud to offer cardiac calcium scoring.  

A Coronary Calcium Scan is a non-invasive scan of the heart that can help your doctor detect and measure plaque in your arteries. This scan can help you and your doctor understand your risk for a heart attack and heart disease before you even start to develop symptoms.  

What does this mean for me? 

Your doctor can work with you to develop a treatment or lifestyle plan to extend your life. Your doctor may recommend a coronary calcium scoring in the following cases: 

  • You have a low-to-moderate risk for heart disease and your doctor wants to understand if you currently have heart disease. 
  • Your doctor is trying to determine the most appropriate treatment for your case. 

What can I expect during a Coronary Calcium Scan ? 

While it may seem scary, it is pain-free and completed quickly. During the scan, our CT technologist will attach electrodes to your chest that connect to an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). An ECG or EKG will record the activity of your heart during the exam and helps to determine when to get the X-ray images – typically between heartbeats when the heart muscle is relaxed. 

You will be asked to lie on a moveable table that slides into a CT scanner. While your body is in the scanner, you will be asked to periodically lie still and hold your breath while the pictures are taken. The test takes approximately 15 minutes. 

In most cases, the entire appointment only takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete, and it is quite affordable for most patients. All you need is a referral from your doctor. 

What does a Coronary Calcium Scan show?

A calcium scan can show if you have calcium deposits in your vessels, the amount of calcium that is in the vessels as well as which vessels are affected.  

Your doctor will review your results with you after the test. Your calcium score can range from 0 to more than 400. 

  • 0:  No identifiable disease 
  • 1 – 99: Mild heart or vascular disease 
  • 100 – 299: Moderate heart or vascular disease 
  • 300 or higher: Severe heart or vascular disease 

The higher your score, the more likely you are to experience a cardiac event in the near future. Even if you have a score below 10, you should take active steps to prevent the progression of your heart disease. 

If I am at risk for heart disease, how will I be treated? 

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan customized for you.  Treatment may include: 

  • Lifestyle changes such as exercising, eating a healthier diet or stopping smoking. 
  • Prescription medications called statins can help stabilize plaque in the vessels and prevent them from rupturing. 
  • Additional testing 

Is this covered by insurance? 

A coronary calcium scoring scan is not covered by insurance – the test costs $99. 

Where can I receive a scan?

There are four locations where you can receive Cardiac Calcium Scoring: 

NGMC Gainesville 
743 Spring Street 
Gainesville, GA 30501 

NGMC Braselton 
1400 River Place 
Braselton, GA 30517 

NGMC Barrow 
316 Broad Street 
Winder, GA 30680

Imaging Center Gainesville 
1315 Jesse Jewell Parkway
Suite 100 
Gainesville, GA 30501 

Make an Appointment Now! 

A coronary calcium scoring scan at Northeast Georgia Medical Center requires a physician referral. To schedule an appointment, call 770-219-7666. Results will be sent to your doctor within 48 hours. 

Take control of your health and ask your doctor if a coronary cardiac calcium scan is right for you. 

About Tracy Greer 

Tracy is the System CT Supervisor and has been with NGHS for 6 years. She has over 32 years of experience as a CT Technologist.